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May 19, 2014

Van Gaal aims to return United to glory

Retiring Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has backed his former boss Louis Van Gaal to be the next Manchester United manager.

Louis van Gaal has vowed to haul Manchester United back to where they were during Sir Alex Ferguson's hugely successful reign as Old Trafford boss, after he was confirmed as the club's next manager.

Louis van Gaal says he is on good terms with former Man United manager Alex Ferguson.

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In an interview on Dutch TV show "RTL Late Night", Van Gaal outlined his vision for United's future as he prepares to take over at the dethroned Premier League champions when his commitments with the Netherlands at this summer's World Cup finals conclude.

Intriguingly, Van Gaal said he was in the running to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scot initially pondered resignation back in 2002, only for the legendary United coach to reverse that decision and continue at the club until the summer of 2013.

Van Gaal also suggested his wife, Truus, was eager for him to retire this summer as he approaches his 63rd birthday, yet he overruled those demands to embark on a new adventure in England's Premier League.

"The aim is to bring [United] back to the No.1 position as soon as possible, because that's where they were under Sir Alex Ferguson," Van Gaal said. "There can only be one champion, but the intention is that this will happen with stars and youth players. Therefore, Manchester United ended up with me.

"It is a very difficult task, but a fantastic challenge. Manchester is the biggest club in the world. In marketing, but also in terms of budgets. Such a club must have high-end ambition."

Van Gaal said Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho -- who worked on his coaching staff during his time as Barcelona boss -- was among the first to congratulate him on securing the United post, and suggested in a text message that "he was jealous" of the list of clubs now on his record, which also includes Bayern Munich.

The next United manager also went on to stress he would have no issue with former boss Ferguson attending games next season, after some observers suggested the presence of the club's most successful manager of all time at a huge number of the matches in the last Premier League may have undermined the efforts of his successor, David Moyes.

"I'll probably go and get a drink with him," said Van Gaal when asked about Ferguson. "We have done quite often in the past. We get along well. In fact, I would have followed him 10 years ago when he wanted to quit, where he eventually came back.

"I don't mind if he goes to games. I put more pressure on myself than others ever could with me do. So I do not expect any problem with Ferguson."

Van Gaal went on to confirm that United had approached him immediately after Moyes was sacked last month and confirmed that his wife intends to start the search for a house in the Manchester area next week.

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